Revitalising the Vilaine Valley

Commissioned by
  • Rennes Métropole
  • Agence TER
  • Cuesta

The Vilaine river winds across the 25 km stretch between Rennes and Laillé. This little-known, hard-to-reach area is a patchwork of wilderness, gravel pits, ponds, recreational areas and random trails. It is also home to businesses, industrial sites and farms. The goal of the project is to revitalise this 3,500-hectare expanse of land by promoting its identity and activities while fostering the emergence of new usages. The landscape architecture firm TER and the cultural cooperative Cuesta form the project management consortium, which has a proposed a strategy aimed at enhancing the existing area, both in terms of landscape features and living components. An innovative methodology based on “pilot initiatives” was established to support the engineering studies. Rooted in artistic processes, the pilot initiatives offer a joint development space for the partners and stakeholders, which helps advance the studies and immediately gives life to the project. 

In 2015, the “Crossings and Stopping Places” pilot initiative supported the development of the riverside path designed by the landscape architects. Carried out in partnership with Bureau Cosmique, a young Rennes-based collective of architects, the initiative took shape as a series of crossings and exploration walks between seven towns and the Vilaine river, as well as four stopping places with an exploration station designed to exhibit depictions of the valley, study the region and house contributions from stakeholders and residents. Over 5,000 people worked on the stopping places, including several artists (MioSHe - illustrator, Esther Salmona - poet, Cécile Demessine - artist, Myriam Lefkowitz - choreographer, Lumière d’août – writers’ collective and Camille Bondon - artist). The artists created stories, images and installations inspiring new interpretations of the region and the project, involving the participants in active processes. Work is also underway with regional stakeholders (farmers, scientists and figures from the worlds of sport, tourism, culture, etc.) to build a shared vision and identify the challenges that must be met.

Following the project start-up phase, preparatory actions will be implemented over the course of three years, from 2016 to 2019.

Non recherche-action plateforme socialdesign
Project duration
  • In progress, since 2014
  • Rennes Métropole, Rennes, France
  • Communes de Bruz
  • Chavagne
  • Rennes
  • le Rheu
  • Laillé
  • Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande
  • Vezin-le-Coquet